Aston Martin at Le Mans: Update after three hours
La Sarthe, 11 June 2011. Aston Martin Racing continues its AMR-One development programme at the annual Le Mans endurance epic today. Cars 007 and 009 started the race on healthy form following an encouraging Thursday practice session running faultlessly throughout. However within the first hour, a failure of the water-pump drive led the 007 car to lock-up and spin. During the same lap, 009, at the hands of Adrian Fernandez (MEX) experienced an identical problem and was unable to return to the pits. It subsequently retired.
Darren Turner (GB) managed to return 007 to the garage and the team is feverishly working to replace the pulley in a bid to return the car to the race.
Team Principal George Howard-Chappell said: “Obviously we are bitterly disappointed that 009 has retired so early. We found some cracks in an aluminium pulley, and elected to substitute the part with a steel replacement. This has caused a problem elsewhere in the driveline and we will now run 007 again with the aluminium part.”
Aston Martin Racing’s customer teams have settled into the opening three hours of the 24-hour race. Kronos Racing/MarcVDS, which runs the all-Belgian-crewed Aston Martin DBR1-2, lies in 26th place after a problem with one of the wheels during Belgian lady racer Vanina Ickx’s opening stint. With the problem soon rectified, Ickx handed over to Maxime Martin, who will attempt to bring the car back up the order. Third driver Bas Leinders will take his first stint of the race later on.
In the GTE-Pro class, in which Jota Sport flies the Aston Martin Racing flag with its V8 Vantage, the battle is as intense as ever. Sam Hancock is currently at the wheel of the number 79 machine and the car lies 10th in class. Gulf AMR Middle East, which also runs the V8 Vantage, has started the GTE-Am class race very competitively, holding second place. Experienced Frenchman Fabien Giroix is just under 20 seconds off the lead.
Live race coverage can be found at www.astonmartinracing.com with additional behind-the-scenes updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AM_Official. Eurosport will be broadcasting live throughout the week, while coverage with Radio Le Mans can be found at www.radiolemans.com.